As one of the most popular, most happening and most crowded tourist destinations, Kovalam is tailor-made for an annual family holiday or a dream come true honeymoon. There are mesmerizingly beautiful places to visit in Kovalam, boasting enticing attractions such as thrilling beach activities, admirable art, remarkable architecture of age old castles, churches & temples, and towering dams.
If you haven’t seen much of South India, Kovalam is a good starting point. And for details like where to go and what to do in the city, we are always here rounding it up for you.
1. Lighthouse Beach – The most spectacular beach in Kovalam
Most popular of Kovalam tourist places, Lighthouse Beach is the most happening and crowded one. A 30 m tall lighthouse erected on the Kurumkal Hill, right along the beach, acts as a landmark to the beach and hence the name. Climb over 140 steps to reach an observation area from where you can witness the village of Poovar on one side and Beemapalli Mosque on the other. The crescent-shaped beach line is dotted with various hotels and restaurants. It is indeed a perfect place for leisure and relaxation.
Things to do: Indulge in beach sports like paragliding, swimming, surfing and parasailing; take a leisure walk on the beach while taking in the breathtaking sunrises or sunsets; enjoy a delicious hearty meal of continental and local delicacies in the beach shacks and eateries that line the coast.
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2. Hawah Beach – The juxtaposed to happening Lighthouse Beach
A little less crowded and surrounded by verdant coconut and palm plantations, Hawah Beach is a choice for those who prefer serenity and relaxation. It is also one of the famous tourist places in Kovalam, right opposite to Lighthouse shoreline. Also known as the Eve’s Beach, it is gorgeous especially around dawn and dusk. But the water current is strong, and it is advised not to swim here.
Things to do: Go sunbathing, take a stroll by the beach and add a dash of adventure with catamaran rides on the strong tides.
The famous viewpoint between Lighthouse Beach and Hawah Beach, Edakallu needs a special mention. The point is a favorite among resident photography enthusiasts and eager tourists. The sunsets here are phenomenal. However, we suggest you to refrain being there late at night as the usual strong currents on the beach become furiously violent at that time.
3. Samudra Beach – The quietest of ’em all
The calmest beach with spell-binding beauty in Kovalam is none other than Samudra Beach. It is not crowded, and is mostly preferred by newlyweds who wish to spend time away from hustle and bustle. Samudra Beach is one of the coolest places to visit in Kovalam, detached from other beaches in Kovalam by a promontory and some shore crevices. Some of the premium hotels like Uday Samudra and Vivanta by Taj are located along its shoreline.
Things to do: It is a picture-perfect beach, if you love serenity. So don’t miss sunbathing, gazing the waves, if not counting them, and viewing the stunning sunrise and sunset.
4. Karamana River – The famed backwaters of Kovalam
Karamana River originates from the southern part of Sahyadri Range. The river predominantly flows through an outskirt region of Kovalam called Karmana, hence the nomenclature. It is a typical stream of peninsular India – broad and gentle. Tourists mainly visit the river bank to enjoy boating. The serene beauty of the surrounding bank and catchment area is also a draw, dotted with coconut, tapioca, pepper plantations and paddy fields. With typical Kerala backwater backdrop, Karamana River Bank is one of the popular tourist places in Kovalam offering leisure and relaxation.
Things to do: Thiruvallam Boat Club offers kayaking, houseboat cruises and canoe riding facilities. The charges for the same keep on changing as over the season and time of the day.
Opening hours: The backwater are accessible 24*7. However, if you are keen to take a boat ride, be there between 10 am to 6 pm.
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5. Vellayani Lake – One of the famous places to see in Kovalam
Vellayani Lake is a large freshwater body in Kerala and ranks high in the list of famous places to visit in Kovalam. Located just 7 km from the city, it is a unique biome comprising a wide plethora of flora and fauna. A quaint road in the form of a bund intersects the lake. One of the most amazing things here is the mystical charm of Vellayani Lake on a moonlit night – lake’s crystal clear, nearly transparent water; and surrounding beauty is worth a visit.
Things to do: Boating facilities to explore and enjoy the suburban landscape, surrounding ecosystem and fishing by locals should not be missed. If you happen to visit during Onam – one of the most famous festivals in India, be sure witness their annual boat race, which is organised in Vellayani.
Boating charges: INR 500 per boat for 30 minutes. The mentioned boat seats 4 people in one go.
6. Halcyon Castle – A palace turned to a 5-star resort
Halcyon Castle, also known as Napier Museum, was built in 1932 by Sri Rama Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran as a summer retreat. Sri Rama Varma sold this palace to Kerala Government in 1964. Now, Halcyon Castle has converted to a 5-star luxury hotel and is run by Ravi Pillai, an NRI businessman. Tourists can visit the palace to see the architecture and avail the amenities luxury hotel stays and gourmet dining.
Things to do: Spend a night at the castle, lazing in the sprawling courtyard, and and reveling in the top class amenities. We bet you won’t be able to stop yourself from admiring the Kerala style architecture of the heritage construction.
7. Kovalam Art Gallery – Showcasing works of famed artists of Kovalam
For those who have an inclination towards paintings and art work, Kovalam Art Gallery or Sree Chithra Art Gallery is a paradise. The gallery displays valuable and significant paintings of famous painters of the Kerala community. There are also displays related to ancient traditions, heritage culture, Mughal era, Rajput era as well as some artifacts from China, Japan and Tibet.
Thing to do: Check out the exclusive paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, Svetlova and Nicholas Roerich and rare collections of Indian fresco paintings.
Opening hours: 10 am to 4.45 pm; the art gallery is closed on Mondays.
Entry fee: INR 10 per person and INR 20 per family of 4.
8. Valiyathura Pier – A jetty to have some quiet time in Kovalam
The pier is a 214 m long jetty, located near Valiyathura. It locally means a big port. The pier attracts tourists for its jaw-dropping views of Malabar Coast and the Arabian Sea. One of the most serene places to visit in Kovalam, it is an ideal place to take a relaxing walk and spend some leisure time with your better half. Placid and away from urban chores, the wharf was once used by fishermen during high tides.
Things to do: Capture the setting sun and rising tides on your camera forever. The splending colors and perfect lighting are apt to bring out your inner artist and spread it on the canvas with a few strokes of the brush.
9. Neyyar Dam – The inter-city Yoga capital of Kovalam!
This gravity dam is located on the Neyyar River, along the foothills of Western Ghats. Due to its placement, the dam formed a beautiful lake which is an ideal picnic spot in Kovalam. Both dam and the lake are surrounded by forests that are home to wild animals like gaur, sloth bears, Nilgiri Tahr, jungle cats, Nilgiri langurs, wild elephants and deer.
Adjacent to this picturesque dam site, along the lake, there lies the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwanthari Ashram for Yoga and Meditation practices. People from all over the country come here to cleanse themselves while immersing in the majestic realms of Yoga.
Things to do: Spend half a day in this picnic spot with your family or loved ones., go boating in the Dam Lake, and don’t miss the wildlife safari in the surrounding forests.
Opening hours: The Safari and the boating facilities are available on all days except on Monday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Boating charges: vary between INR 100 to 150 per head.
Safari charges: INR 250 per adult and INR 125 per child. A child below 5 years will be charged a measly INR 5.
10. Aruvikkara Dam – A beautiful boating and picnic spot in Kovalam
Located on the banks of Karamana River, Aruvikkara Dam is among popular picnic spots in Kovalam. Tourists visit this beautiful dam and lake for day outing mostly. Moreover, the lake water has many fishes that come close to surface and are fed by visitors. Sounds fun? But there is a belief too. The fish are considered sacred and it is believed that feeding them can cure many diseases like skin allergies. The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) runs a small eatery cum coffee shop here. So relax and munch whenever you feel like!
Things to do: Boating, feeding fishes and enjoying the scenic beauty of the surroundings. Boating services are available from 9 am to 4 pm in the evening. Keep half a day for this dam and lake area in your itinerary.
Boating charges: Vary between INR 100-120 per person. Bargain hard we suggest.
11. Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple – A popular tourist attraction in Kovalam
One of important places to visit in Kovalam for religious people is Vizhinjam Rock Cut Cave Temple. It is as old as 18th century and located in the outskirts area of Kovalam.
Opening hours: It opens from 9 am to 6 pm, and remains closed on Mondays.
12. Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple – A 2000 years old Hindu shrine
Another temple that must be mentioned here is Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple, which is said to be 2000 years old. Located on the banks of Karamana River, it is a unique temple dedicated to Parasurama – the mythological originator of Kerala. Try to plan your holidays around Bali Tharpanam– a festival to pay tribute to ancestors. Here in this temple, the festival is celebrated with grandeur and it’s worth watching.
Opening hours: Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple is open from 6 am to 6 pm.
Well, the list is not exhaustive! We’ll bring you a lot more interesting tourist attractions in Kovalam. Till then, if you know of some awesome spots, please let us know in the comments below.
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